Canyonlands needles slot canyon. Holeman Slot, Canyonlands National Park, Utah
A high clearance vehicle would have made the trip more pleasant; but isn't required to access the Peak-A-Boo trailhead when the road is dry. The main road ends amongst a jumble of small ravines and pinnacles at Big Spring Canyon Overlook from which a 5 mile trail leads to an overlook of the confluence of the Green and Colorado rivers.
Approach Road The road to the Needles starts from US 14 miles north of Monticello, runs across open grassy land for a while then descends gradually along Indian Creek Canyon, which is at first narrow, twisting and overgrown but soon widens to be several miles across, accommodating flat meadows either side of the creek where many canyonlands needles slot canyon graze.
We took a break under an overhang. Use caution when taking the side roads to the trailheads, they can be rough or even impassable.
So many cool rock formations lured us off the trail, we found it impossible to stay on the trail! For my money, and for the unique scenery per mile of walking, this is one of the best places in the American desert.
Water is scarce; bring at least 1 quart 1 L of water per person for short trails, and up to 1 gallon 4 L for long trails. We found an abandoned cabin just outside the park.
We were both going crazy taking photos. It eventually becomes so narrow it's impassable.
The Needles District is said to be the more beautiful and less touristy side of Canyonlands National Park. Planning an overnight trip?
The Scenic Drive
Then, suddenly, the trail descended into a slot. As we stopped at the entrance station to flash our pass and get maps, Mark joked with the attendant who had been making change and issuing passes to a line of cars all day long.
On the way in and out of Canyonlands National Park, there is a tiny homestead on the west side of the road that begs for exploration. Just the far side of the gate is a good area for free camping, mostly out of sight of the road and high enough for nice views over the bushy valley of Indian Creek, the high red cliffs at either side, and the distinctive spires of North and South Sixshooter peaks.
To promote visitor safety and the opportunity to view natural features undisturbed, climbing, scrambling, walking or standing upon, or rappelling off any arch is prohibited in the park. The Backcountry One famous 4WD route through the Needles is Elephant Hill Trail, one of the most testing roads in Utah, which leads to a collection of parallel, vertical-walled valleys formed by rock faulting, known as the Grabens, then eventually into Beef Basin and the Manti-La Sal National Forest, south of the park.
This area is still popular, but definitely a far cry from a summer weekend at Yellowstone or in the Yosemite Valley.